Lecturer, Heyman Center East Asian Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Office Hours: F 10:00 AM -12:00 PM, or by appointment
PhD: Columbia University, 2020
MA: Columbia University, 2015
BA: University of Tokyo, 2012
Joshua Rogers researches the intersections of modern Japanese literature, religion, and secularization. He explores how beginning in the late nineteenth century new scientific theories and philosophical positions—including empiricism, positivism, and materialism—were met by a countercurrent of thought that distinguished itself from both mainstream scientific knowledge and from the religious and supernatural beliefs of the past. His dissertation, titled “Enchanted Texts: Japanese Literature Between Religion and Science, 1890-1950,” examines a lineage of philosophical and literary texts that, by staking out positions critical of both religion and science, created modern spaces for non-rational forms of knowledge, for intuitive and sublime experiences, and for skepticism of purely materialistic views of reality. His research explores how major writers—including Mori Ōgai, the Shirakaba cadre, and Akutagawa Ryūnosuke—deployed these positions to argue for an aesthetic value of literature outside of the purview of scientific or rational analysis, as well as for literature’s potential to spark the spiritual development of the modern subject, and in turn catalyze artistic and political progress. He traces the impact of this transnational discursive current on the sociopolitical realities of modern Japan, arguing that questions regarding which types of knowledge and experience are possible, and for whom, held deep importance for the formation of artistic and social authority in the early twentieth century, just as they do today.